Tenet earns £40 million in first weekend of release

The Christopher Nolan espionage thriller has exceeded box office expectations.

Tenet poster

Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending time-shifting espionage blockbuster Tenet has earned more than $53 million (£40 million) in its first weekend of limited release globally.

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EW reports that Tenet has been released in 41 countries in the past week, including the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Australia, but won’t be rolled out in the US until Thursday, 3rd September.

Toby Emmerich, Chairman of Warner Bros Pictures Group, said in a statement: “We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased. Christopher Nolan has once again delivered an event-worthy motion picture that demands to be seen on the big screen, and we are thrilled that audiences across the globe are getting the opportunity to see Tenet.”

The COVID-19-delayed release of Tenet, which co-stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki, has been convoluted to say the least. It was originally scheduled for release on 17th July, which was moved to 12th August, before it was dropped from the schedules entirely.

Warner Bros then rescheduled it for an initial 26th August release in some territories, followed by a staggered release in the US the following week, then China.

Emmerich paid tribute to cinema chains around the world “for their tireless efforts in reopening their cinemas in a safe and socially-distanced way. Given the unprecedented circumstances of this global release we know we’re running a marathon, not a sprint, and look forward to long playability for this film globally for many weeks to come”.

The performance of Tenet at the box office is a huge boost to the industry, which has been banking on Tenet being the drawcard that would galvanise movie fans and get them back in cinemas.

The reviews of Tenet have been positive, albeit with the caveat that it’s an oblique, confusing and challenging movie to get a grip on.

Nolan plays with the concept of time in Tenet, as he often does in his movies, but he emphasised it was not a time-travel narrative.

He told EW earlier this year: “It dealswith time and the different ways in which time can function. Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.”

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